The Melon Music Awards aired on Nov. 30. in Seoul. During the awards show, Bangtan Sonyeondan [방탄소년단] almost exclusively known as BTS here in the west, performed a 40 minute set of “Intro: Persona” “Boy in Luv” “Boy With Luv” “Mikrokosmos” a dance break, and “Dionysus.”
The opening video shows the members resting on a sofa, similar to the “I NEED U” music video, hinting at BTS’s fictional story universe and that this concert might be a reflection of it. The video features motifs of lights and shadows, making fans excited that the potential albums of “Map of the Soul: Shadow” or “Map of the Soul: Ego” might be confirmed soon. It ends with Rap Monster (RM) being the only one awake, playing with a lighter.
RM starts the performance with a solo, “Intro: Persona.” His rapping is spectacular. The stage is themed like a Korean classroom and was littered with clues about fan-speculations and references to their old songs. The clack board was made to look like the scribbles of a mad man. Once RM finishes, the rest of BTS joined him for “Boy in Luv,” a 2014 song from the Skool Luv Affair era. A surprising throwback and a hint that this concert was more than meets the eye.
The song jumps into BTS’s 2019 megahit, “Boy With Luv” which is a direct continuation of the story. The screen changes from a school to the iconic movie theater from the 2019 video. Since Halsey was over here in the States, the boys sing the high notes alongside her backing track. Jimin kisses a rose and throws it into the crowd, triggering rose petals to blast out of cannons into the front rows. The boys held up hand signs of the number two, again hinting at the Ego album.
Then, everything stops and fades to black. RM speaks over a soft piano, as the white text is the only thing visible: “In the beginning, I did not shine so bright. I only knew to do my best to shine. But we found each other and our universe was born. Now let us shine on each other.” The music swells, “We’re no longer small. Just as the universe expands,” The camera cuts to the crowd filled with lights, “Our universe would last forever.”
The song “Mikrokosmos” starts, the staging mimics the Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour, the projection and screens of stars make it appear like they were floating in the galaxy. At the softest part of the song, the stage blacks out and shows only a screen with the words “I love you” in 100s of different languages.
The video from the opening continues, Jungkook woke up and look at old TVs playing old BTS music videos. He says, “I’m still looking for who I used to be,” the camera pans back to his face, he smiles, and says, “who I am now.” RM smiles and hugs him. Shadows fill and become the other band members. Their silhouettes are overlaid with the scenes of their deaths from the “Fake Love” music video. It cuts to them all standing in the living room, the TV shows static, as Jungkook says, “Who I will be in the future.” It zooms in on his eye and showing space. The BTS logo flashes.
A greek horn blazes, like a warning before, their song “Dionysus.” Greek imagery is everywhere. The screen is lifted and we see men highlighted by a dark red light. They march like soldiers, and people on spinning rings drop for the ceiling. V raises from the ground in a white and gold suit leaning heavily into Apollo imagery. His dance is dark and moody set to an old BTS song “No More Dream.”
Then it shifts to Jin, in an all-white suit, on a horse figurine before dancing to an orchestrated new version of “Danger” as his imagery leads to hot debates and the two conclusions that he is representing either Athena or Ares. His dancing is his controlling of an army to fight.
Everything fades to blue as a long flowing sheet is ran across stage and Jimin is shown alone as Artemis, in a silk outfit illuminated by simple light bulbs meant to look like stars. He ballet style dances to “I NEED U,” while using the piece of cloth to highlight his movement and incorporating a traditional Korean dance in his set.
The stage then lights up with red lights and actual fire for Suga’s song and dance “Fire.” He is representing Hephaestus and is costumed like he was back in the Hwa Yong Yeon Hwa era of BTS’s music.
Water falls over and stops the fire and Jungkook is shown sitting in a pool of water and smoke. His song is “Save Me” and he represents Poseidon. He spends and splashes water everywhere, his tasseled shirt helps with the movement.
Then the lights struck down as J-Hope dances to a techno style remix of “Fake Love,” he is Zeus shown with a laser light show.
Lastly, the leader, RM enters to “Dionysus” powerfully walking onstage as Dionysus and picking up his mythical thyrsus. He holds it over his head and rolls his eyes back as he plants it into the ground. The stage burst into life.
Then BTS performs “Dionysus” surrounded by Greek imagery. The insane choreography is some of BTS’s hardest yet and the staging is overly grand. Men in boring uniforms and men leading real horses enter. BTS sits on a Mount Olympus court as the song kicks off. RM jumps onto the table and walks across, then pounds his fist and the other members rise. They dance on the front table before moving to the front. Before the final verse, they revealed “Dionysus” remixed “N.O.” again emphasizing that they haven’t lost the love for their old music. Right before the hardest part of the dance RM asked the audience: “Is you ready for this? Is you ready, see your hype! Jump! Come on, let’s go!” The show finished with all of the band members sitting on thrones.
At the award portion of the night, they won eight awards, four of those being daesangs, or “grand prizes.” The group won Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.